Falconry in the 21st Century
Falconry or hawking is the art or sport involving raptors (birds of prey) to hunt or pursue game on wild quarry. There are two traditional terms used to describe a person involved in falconry: A falconer flies a falcon; an austringer flies a "true" hawk (accipiter) however, they are also called falconers. Confused? Welcome to the world of falconry! In modern falconry, buteos are now commonly used, and the words "hawking" and "hawker" have become so much used to mean petty traveling traders, so the more loosely used term "falconer" now applies to all people involved in falconry.
Falconry is the most highly regulated hunting sport in our country today. Permits and licenses are required from the US Fish and Wildlife Service as well as all states. There are rigid regulations addressing the possession, care and flying of birds for falconry. Because all raptors are protected by state, federal and international law, all potential falconers must obtain necessary permits before obtaining a hawk or practicing falconry. This can take quite a while, since it includes taking a written falconry exam and getting the appropriate signatures. If you can't keep your paperwork straight, even in quintuplet (five copies), don't consider falconry.
--Missouri Falconers Association
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